The celestial spectacle of a total solar eclipse is coming on April 8, 2024, and photographer, host of the PhotowalksTV series and former USA TODAY columnist Jefferson Graham has shared essential tips for capturing this incredible event with your smartphone. While we all know the current best photography companion is the Google Pixel 8 Pro (and its smaller sibling, the Pixel 8), you can still turn to your tried and tested Pixel 7 Pro or even older Pixel models to capture stunning photos and videos of this historic event.

But before you start, ensure you have solar glasses to protect your eyes and cover your Pixel camera with a solar filter for close-up shots of the sun. You’ll also need a tripod especially for videos and long-exposure photos in Night Sight mode. You may also consider getting a smartphone tripod adapter for easy attachment.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the best Pixel camera settings for capturing the best shots of the upcoming total solar eclipse.

Pixel camera settings for the best photos of the total solar eclipse:

  • Embrace the environment: While your Pixel won’t offer extreme close-ups, Jeff says your primary focus should in fact be to capture stunning shots of the darkened sky, excited crowds, and the changing environment. This is where your phone excels.
  • Use the wide angle lens: Your Pixel’s wide-angle lens is your best bet for capturing stunning shots of the darkened sky, excited crowds, and the changing environment.
  • Night Sight is your best ally: Activate Google’s Night Sight mode for maximum light capture. Use a tripod for extended exposure shots (up to 30 seconds) for breathtaking results.
  • Burst Mode for the win: Burst mode grabs a rapid sequence of photos. This is excellent for the moments when totality hits, ensuring you get that perfect shot of the diamond ring effect.

Keep in mind that this whole event is supposed to be fun, so yeah, Jeff recommends focusing on the fun. The solar eclipse is a special experience, so don’t get lost in your phone the whole time. The best you can do is set up long-exposure shots and take some bursts, then put your Pixel down and enjoy the show.


Pixel camera settings for the best videos of the total solar eclipse:

  • Timelapse magic: A timelapse video dramatically shows the world transforming over minutes. Your Pixel’s built-in Night Sight will enhance the low-light results, and a tripod is a must for stability.
  • Standard video for flexibility: Jeff recommends using your Pixel phone’s standard video mode for versatility. But while at it, be sure to experiment with different zoom levels, although keep in mind that digital zoom beyond your phone’s optical zoom range will lead to lower-quality footage.
  • Simplify and enjoy: Put your Pixel on a tripod, start recording video (and take photos simultaneously) and be present for the awe-inspiring event.

Jeff warns that no matter how amazing your smartphone camera is, you won’t get professional-level telephoto zoom for detailed close-ups of the sun. You’re also discouraged from pointing your Pixel telephoto lens directly at the sun without a filter because you could damage your camera. Last but not least, enjoy the full eclipse experience and focus on capturing the changing light, the reactions of people around you, and the unique atmosphere for the most memorable shots because it’ll be years before another total solar eclipse.

Yep, in case you missed it, the next total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States will be in 2044, so don’t miss this year’s stunning celestial event because you might never witness anything like it ever again. Ensure you have the right gear (solar glasses, solar filters to tape over your Google Pixel phone for close-ups, tripod for videos, and even a smartphone tripod adapter to snap the phone atop the tripod) to fully enjoy the incredible moments of a total solar eclipse.


Hillary Keverenge
2094 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

Next article View Article

April 2024 security update arrives for Pixel Watch users

Google has commenced the rollout of April 2024 security update for the Pixel Watch and Pixel Watch 2. This update prioritizes bug fixes and has 2 new features for these...
Apr 03, 2024 1 Min Read